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This Internet Marketing Elements Assignment is broadly defines as the use of internet for the purpose of advertising and selling goods and services. The emergence of internet as a new media channel for effective and efficient supply chain management has resulted in huge cost savings and increased customer reach. Breaking through the clutter of traditional media which is one way in nature companies have started adopting internet based marketing as a means of two way communication with the customers.
The elements of IM can be segregated into two categories based on the most important technique used for IM namely Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The two categories are on-page optimization (ONPO) and off-page optimization (OFPO) (Elements of Internet Marketing Part-II, 2012) and comprise of factors that help in changing the importance or rank of a website in natural search results.
ONPO factors are controlled by the coding technique used in the website/webpage and hence are under the control of the page designer. It starts with competition analysis to assess the keywords being used, strategy for marketing of products, and source of traffic. In order to attract traffic it is important to consider optimal page design through enhance site architecture and usage and content development (Elements of Internet Marketing Part-1, 2012). Even the page titles and page URLs have to be optimized to ensure that the right amount of traffic is generated.
OFPO factors are not under the control of the page content developer and form the base of linking the website with other important sources of attracting traffic (Elements of Internet Marketing Part-II, 2012). The factors or link builders that are widely used are blogs, directories – article and local, social media, videos, online communities, PR, press release and bookmarks. Blogs provide a means of communication with the existing and potential customers. Directories are important source to share company articles and help in increasing the website visibility. Targeting the right set of forums helps in catching customer attention and hence increases traffic. Social media and videos are the most important means of viral marketing wherein a piece of information could spread like a wildfire across the globe.
The traditional 4Ps of marketing planning are those controllable factors that each marketer could use to showcase products in a way that creates competitive advantage through unique positioning in the minds of the customers (McCarthy, 1964). However, as businesses have evolved and newer media channels have been identified, it is important the mix be expanded to include some other factors that play a vital role in achieving the desired objectives. Various researchers have proposed various extensions to the traditional mix. Lawrence et al. (2000) have proposed addition of two Ps –People and Packaging and at the same time Verona et al. (2006) have proposed a 3C model –Content (website and platform), Commerce (includes the traditional 4Ps) and Community (interaction platform and relational capability). Attributing due importance to environment and interaction on the online media, Chen (2006) had made four additions to the traditional mix – Precision (accuracy of selecting the target audience), Payment (safety and security), Personalization (flexible interface for each customer) and Push & Pull (active or passive communications). On the other hand there are some researchers who have proposed that the existing 4Ps are good enough to achieve the desired objectives with some additional or new dimensions being added for digital marketing.
Typically companies like Amazon.com have used an extension mix that includes Product – wide range of variety, Price – discounted for high competition, Place – distribution channel and home delivery, Promotion – various elements of IM, People – customized suggestions to each user based on historic data and Process – pure click business model driven through data analytics.
IM tools are meant to integrate the metrics and measurement mechanisms for the performance of various IM elements selected for a particular campaign. As an integrated force, various elements of IM help in achieving better results with lesser time and cost investments and also provide a mechanism for performance management (Tools to excel, Raven, 2012; SEO Tools, Internet Marketing Ninjas, 2012).
As far as SEO is concerned various companies offer free and paid tools that assist in better keyword management, assessing strategies of rivals, high ranking of popular search engines, high quality links, entire SEO campaign management and content analysis tools (Tools to excel, Raven; SEO Tools, Internet Marketing Ninjas; SEO Marketing, Keyword Country). Due to high competition, SEO campaigns require more time and efforts and the impact is generally not very high.
For Social Media, companies offer tools for both social media monitoring and management like selection of better keywords for attention, larger impact through elaborate content, reaching out to blogs and forums that is supported through streaming, monitoring of user browsing data, integrated monitoring of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Google Analytics (Tools to excel, Raven, 2012; SEO Marketing, Keyword Country, 2012). Social media produces greater impact with lesser efforts and time investments.
Similarly there are other tools available in the market for Content Management, Metrics for performance measurement, PPC Campaign Management, Affiliate Marketing and Web Analytics that help in managing the online marketing campaign.
The main idea behind IM is to ensure that the visitors to a website are converted into actual customers and for that it is important that the website offers easy and secure order processing with all the necessary details (Interactive Order Processing for E-Commerce Part 1, 2012). The purchase funnel which is applicable to online purchase is browse, shop and buy; thus it is important that the prospects are aware of the online presence of the company, and that they find the desired product with ease and gain confidence over the security of transactions. Ensuring that the site helps customer in decision making through comparisons and offering non-mandatory registrations for future purchases are some competitive advantages that companies could create (Interactive Order Processing, 2012). For any company the steps of interactive order processing are (Interactive Order Processing for E-Commerce Part 1, 2012):
This process is typically followed by popular online purchase websites like Amazon.com, e-Bay.com etc.
Search Engine Marketing primarily comprises of SEO, pay-per-click advertising and reputation management (How Search Engine Marketing Works, Optimum7, 2012). SEO starts from the very fact that most beautifully designed and content rich websites could exist and go totally unnoticed unless they show up in user search results. It is important that each webpage develops a high rank on search engine return pages (SERP) (How Search Engine Optimization Works, howstuffworks.com, 2012). In order to show up in search results companies need to focus on:
Reputation Management is necessary to ensure that no content is offensive to any section of the society that can tarnish the image of the company. It also ensures that no negative news in the media leads to bad reputation for the website. Pay-per-click advertising helps in placing paid advertisements on search results based on the selected keywords, thus grabbing the attention of target user segment or prospects. Evaluating the number of times the advertisements are displayed and the number of users that actually follow the link is an important parameter of success.
SEO can be of two types –White Hat (traditional keyword based for high ranking) and Black Hat (keyword stuffing that alters the search results through overuse of keywords) (How Search Engine Optimization Works, howstuffworks.com, 2012).
Various digital communities that could propel business are:
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Chen C-Y. 2006. The comparison of structure differences between internet marketing and traditional marketing. International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development, 3 (4): 397–417
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